Author Topic: History of dovetails  (Read 17762 times)


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Re: History of dovetails
« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2009, 09:50:21 PM »
I think these wedged dovetails are either a shop tradition or the way around not glueing the joint. Another possibilty is a joint that was too loose, but it's hard to believe that they were all loose. I've done draws where the joint was plenty tight without glue,or wedges, so my hunch is that it's a leftover shop practice carried on by Germanic workers in the new world.-Al
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Re: History of dovetails
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2009, 10:08:41 PM »
Schwalbenschwanzverbindung or swallow-tail joints is what the Germans. called them while making them.
I believe Zinken are the pins. Maybe some German sites could clue you in.
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Re: History of dovetails
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2009, 10:36:57 AM »
 Yeah, thats what most of the articles say, even  better quality articles in Chipstone,"traditional germanic woodworking" all pretty much say the same thing. Naturally they dont offer the why or how these joints were done. These dovetails are not loose at all, indeed, the dovetails that show on the front of the case are cut so perfectly that they would give the latest CNC milling machine a run for it's money. As for not gluing the joints i agree, thats the only advantage i can think of that makes sense but considering the extra work involved in making this joint, not to mention the risk of splitting the dovetail pin when you drive a wedge into the center of it, there has just got to be a better reason than not using glue?

Great idea! I am using Collins Reverso Dictionary to translate various combinations of searches and although i have not found the answer yet it does offer a brand new way of searching. Thanks for the tip.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2009, 04:25:22 PM by jacon4 »


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Re: History of dovetails
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2009, 02:50:52 PM »
I think not using glue is the answer. It's really not that much trouble to drop an extra kerf in there and wedge that joint. As long as your wood is nicely selected as that pictured is, its not going to split. Perhaps this is easier than buying/making/or otherwise procuring glue in 18th century at this particular locale.
A man sawing dovetails can put that extra kerf and wedge two pieces of pine pretty fast, faster than I could heat glue and clean up the mess even now, I might say.


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Re: History of dovetails
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2009, 06:02:47 PM »
They don't make 'em like they used to. A two edged sword.
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